Everything Is Alive, Darlingside’s fourth LP, marks a subtle but remarkable departure for the Boston-based quartet NPR once described as “exquisitely arranged, literary minded, baroque folk-pop.” While the album retains much of the lushness and sophistication of Extralife (2018) and Fish Pond Fish (2020), the band’s latest work decisively exposes and differentiates the individual voices of the four songwriters—a daring reinvention for a group known for ubiquitous vocal harmonies. Grappling with change both personal and universal, with quandaries domestic and existential, Everything Is Alive is an album about loss and the struggle for a semblance of redemption.
It’s a rare thing and becoming rarer by the day: a group of musicians with that emulsifying magic to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. And to see Darlingside perform live is to confirm this special chemistry. With the release of Everything Is Alive the band will, for the first time, take to the road without Dave Senft. Instead of filling his spot directly, the band has wisely chosen to honor the special chemistry of the foursome by letting those arrangements live on the recordings without obligation to faithfully recreate them onstage. While Dave remains a contributing member of the band, on tour Darlingside will perform in a completely different configuration altogether—a configuration that will, at times, include the album’s drummer Ben Burns, singer Molly Parden, and others—proving again how the group can adroitly rearrange themselves for the breaking of a new and different day.